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In opposition: Torquay United v Exeter City

19 December 2012

Bragging rights are on the line in Devon this weekend as Torquay United host local rivals Exeter City. Here, we preview the match with the help of a supporter from each club.


Name: James Bennett.

Club: Torquay United.

Number of years as a supporter: 15. My first match was Cardiff City against Torquay United at Ninian Park in November 1997. As I live in South Wales, and was only six at the time, it was a good opportunity to see if I enjoyed going to a match. I did, and haven't stopped since.

Favourite moment as a fan: Winning the Conference play-off final at Wembley in 2009 to return to the Football League. After losing at Wembley in the FA Trophy final the year before, I think we were all quite nervous about this - the consortium had put a lot of money into our promotion push so it was a 'now or never' situation. Cambridge were a good side, too. Fortunately our team had one of its better days and we won 2-0.

How many games a season do you attend? 15-20 - any home games that coincide with university holidays and the odd away game.

Where do you sit? Popside - home terracing.

Name: Josh Denham.

Club: Exeter City.

Number of years as a supporter: All my life, so nearly 20 years.

Favourite moment as a fan: Tough choice considering recent successes - possibly beating Plymouth Argyle in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy two seasons ago, or beating Cambridge at Wembley. Both brilliant.

How many games a season do you attend? All the home games and as many away games as possible, between 30-35.

Where do you sit? I stand in the 'Big Bank' - the largest terrace in The Football League.


What happened in your last match?

JB: A 1-1 draw at home to Northampton Town. An evenly fought encounter between two sides who should at least be in the top half of the table come May. We were disappointed to concede a last-minute equaliser but on balance it was probably a fair result.

JD: We unfortunately drew 1-1 to our local rivals Plymouth Argyle, despite going 1-0 up and having to play against 10 men for the last 20 minutes.

Why is this game important?

JB: Because it's Exeter! Okay, so it's not a particularly fierce rivalry, but it's a local derby all the same. We've probably been in the same division as Exeter more often than Plymouth, so I would consider them our main rivals, and there have been plenty of players who have played for both clubs down the years. It's also expected to be particularly competitive as we're looking to occupy similar areas of the table this season.

JD: Because it's our second Devon derby of the season, an ideal way to bring three points back and for Christmas to come early in terms of bragging rights.

How do you see this game going?

JB: It's a bit of a clich? but as it's a local derby, I expect it to be tight, tense and scrappy, and it could go either way. I think Exeter have marginally the better side at this stage, and most Torquay fans respect Paul Tisdale and his abilities as a manager, while we have been quite inconsistent of late, lurching from brilliant to terrible. But they will be entering this game disappointed not to have beaten Plymouth last weekend, which may give us the morale advantage. It's very difficult to call.

JD: Well, we seem to be playing better away than at home this season, but Torquay's home record has been decent too this season. It must be an Exeter win, though.

Who should we keep our eye on?

JB: Rene Howe has been our stand-out performer so far this season. He is one of those rare lower league strikers who isn't a one-trick pony - he is big and powerful but at the same time has good technical ability, brings other players into the attack and often tracks back into midfield to help out. His scoring rate has slowed of late but he's still our main threat going forward.

JD: Jamie Cureton has been our best and most influential player this season with 15 league goals already.

Any memories of previous encounters?

JB: This is our first competitive fixture against Exeter since the 2008 Conference play-off semi-finals. We won the first leg 2-1 at St James Park, and then went 1-0 up at Plainmoor with half an hour to go - it looked as if we were on our way to Wembley. However, they promptly scored four goals in the last 20 minutes, and then went on to win at Wembley too - to give them credit, if you want to beat your local rivals in the most humiliating way possible, that's how to do it. Even after four and a half years, revenge is still on people's minds.

I remember the Play-Off semi-final as if it was yesterday! 3-1 down on aggregate with 20 minutes to go, before scoring four world class goals to take us to Wembley for a second season in a row.JD:

Score prediction?

JB: 1-1. Given that both sides have drawn with Plymouth, a draw looks to be the most likely result.

JD: Torquay 1-3 Exeter, please.

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